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Grant Bosse

Grant Bosse: Drive-through voters are stealing your votes

It’s Election Day, 2016. Circling overhead, a fleet of chartered passenger jets awaits the results of the 4 p.m. exit polls to determine which swing state most needs their cargo of committed voters. It looks like the Granite State is going to be too close to call, and if the campaign can get these few hundred volunteers to the polls by 7, they can register as New Hampshire voters.

WMUR-TV recently reported on a number of short-term Democratic campaign staffers registering to vote in New Hampshire, even though they

had no proof that they ever lived here or intended to stay after the election. The drive-through voters that WMUR uncovered included Alana Biden, niece of Vice President Joe Biden, and four campaign workers who stayed at the home of state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark.

As a small, swing state, New Hampshire is used to receiving busloads of out-of-state campaign workers and volunteers. It makes sense for national campaigns to shift their resources, including labor and advertising dollars, to states still in play rather than wasting time and money in Texas or Massachusetts. But they don’t get to move voters around like a game of Risk.

Democrats responded to the report, and the New Hampshire Republican Party’s call on the attorney general to investigate it, with a flurry of false equivalence. They brought up numerous examples of Republican campaigns that hired out-of-staters who registered to vote, and later left the state. But no one is complaining about staffers who move to New Hampshire for work. The problem is with temporary staff who drop in for weeks or even months, crash on someone’s couch or guest room, with no legal ties to the state where they vote.

Every state has a residency requirement to vote. You get to vote where you live. New Hampshire defines a “domicle” as “that one place where a person, more than any other place, has established a physical presence and manifests an intent to maintain a single continuous presence.”

Manifesting an intent is the key requirement. It means we need more than your word to know you actually live here. The law also requires people in the state for more than 60 days to transfer their driver’s license and register their car here. So either these drive-through voters are here less than 60 days, further weakening an already tenuous claim, or they’re breaking a different law.

It doesn’t take much to establish domicile. A utility bill, lease agreement or driver’s license with your New Hampshire address is enough. But these Obama For America staffers didn’t have any of these because they were just passing through. So they signed affidavits attesting to their ties to the state and left on the first stagecoach out of town.

For years, the secretary of state and attorney general have failed to enforce our residency requirements, running our elections on the honor system. Other states enforce their laws, prosecuting voters who falsely claim residence in order to vote.

Attorney General Joe Foster says he won’t recuse himself, despite having served with Fuller Clark in the state Senate.

“I take conflict seriously, as I noted in my confirmation hearing, and if I didn’t think I could impartially look into a matter, I would recuse myself,” Foster told the New Hampshire Union Leader.

But the conflict isn’t with Fuller Clark. It’s with Obama For America and the New Hampshire Democratic Party. Foster shouldn’t be anywhere near an investigation of the campaign committees that helped elect him in 2008.

The investigation of drive-through voters doesn’t address another common source of voter fraud: absentee voters who no longer live here. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s daughter, Molly Shaheen, has been voting absentee for years, despite living in California. Current and former representatives from both parties have adult children living out of state but casting absentee ballots from their childhood homes.

There are many ways to qualify for an absentee ballot even if you don’t physically reside in New Hampshire, including military deployment and temporary work relocation. Wanting to keep voting for Mom or Dad isn’t one of them. If the folks wanted to keep voting for their relatives, they shouldn’t have moved away.

We can certainly clean up New Hampshire election laws, which seem purposely vague and hard to enforce. But nothing is preventing state officials from prosecuting the clear cases of voter fraud that have recently come to light. If we’re not going to enforce the law and prevent people from other states from stealing our votes, we might as well set up polling stations at baggage claim.

(Grant Bosse is editor of New Hampshire Watchdog, an independent news site dedicated to New Hampshire public policy. He is a senior fellow at the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy.)

Legacy Comments15

Requiring an ID to vote is a no-brainer. If there isn't any voter fraud then what's the big deal?

This is very discouraging. I spoke before the 2012 election with a young man who attended UMass, he was a NH resident. He was recruited (and paid) by the Umass Democrat Club to get the names of non-resident landowners in the Lakes Region from NHTown Clerks, the names and addresses were distributed to "volunteers" who would vote as the children/spouses/relatives of the landowners who had recently moved to the seasonal home. It really seems there is no point in voting in this State any longer, the system is far too corrupted.

I just do not get it why folks are so opposed to getting all sides of any issue. It goes against common sense. To make a judgement about anything, we need to know all sides. Then we can judge and make smart choices. I get the impression that a forum like this one does not appeal to many. As does the CM allowing Grant a column. All I see is folks against knowledge and wanting their beliefs reaffirmed. It makes no sense. We want to know more about the car we buy than what our politicians are telling us. Why? So much so that we have become divided. It is a shame and at some point we will realize we have been lied to by many politicians, the media, etc. We are letting it happened by being uninformed and accepting what we are told. Have we lost the ability to weigh pros and cons on any issue and figure out what works best? That is what is called being uninformed. And that is what all pols want. They are counting on the fact that we are uninformed. Sad part is we are buying it and trusting them.

The only apparent “false equivalence” is the Monitor having to dredge this far back into the remainder bins to come up with a columnist so they can say they have given the New Republican Reality space to foist its increasingly incomprehensible gibberish on the public -- most of whom long ago stopped giving them any credit whatsoever, or caring what they say. You might know you have lost traction when the comments are running 8 to 1 against you -- the single lonely supporter being a reliable right-wing voice equally long-sequestered in The Bubble as Bosse.

Interesting that the state can decide who gets a "resident" driver’s license, a resident fish/hunting license, what students are "resident or non-resident" at colleges but it can't decide who is a resident for voting purposes???

The bottom line is that if votes are being stolen, progressives could care less, would never admit it and honestly due to their choice of ideology trumping ethics, morals and character, expect the naysayers to post here denying any fraud and attempting to accuse the GOP of it. It is all part of the Alinsky, Rules for Radicals agenda. Progressives are dangerous and basically un-American. Period!

Five minutes of careful reading make perfectly clear the difference between being partisan (Tony Soltani) and a partisan hack (Grant Bosse).

Just watched "Closeup" on WMUR. The lawyer from Sulloway and Hollis just knocked Bosse's socks off. What is Bosse's expertise besides being a mouthpiece for a right-wing lobbying group? Editor of an "independent news site," kinda like that "fair and balanced" news station? What a joke.

Wow Grant, the Monitor actually gave you a good topic this time. So the myth of there is no voter fraud is now debunked. The only problem is that the Monitor hasn't provided any proof that Republicans do it to. This type of voter fraud is wide spread and it needs to be investigated. We need to beef up our definition of domicile that has some concrete numbers to it like has been a resident for 6 months where they have to show proof that they live there. What Matha Fuller-Crap is doing is illegal and should be removed from office for it. The Monitor would never ridicule her with a series of editorial cartoons because she is a liberal democrat.

It's not fraud if it is legal. Until the day comes that you can prove this beyond reasonable doubt, you should be a bit more cautious in what you accuse others of. The biggest problem with your credibility, along with Grant and several others, is the simplistic, never-ending "democrats are evil, republicans are our saviors" viewpoints you never stop spewing. Most of us are not this shallow minded, I think. Republicans are every bit as nauseating as the democrats.

Honestly, I really don't care if a handful of volunteers or even paid workers spend a few weeks in NH working on NH campaigns and vote here. Democrat or Republican. This whole thing is beyond ridiculous. This is about the trumped up voter fraud (i.e. voter suppression) issue. Doesn't Jennifer Horn have other things to worry about? I suggest she concentrate on finding a decent candidate to run against Jeanne Shaheen or Maggie Hassan.

Molly Shaheen is one of my constituents. I can assure you that she is quite visible around Durham & Madbury during election seasons. The claim that she "has been voting absentee for years" is not just untrue: it's an easily verifiable claim which does not verify.

anybody remember the campaign staffer staying it Kathy Sullivan's house that was caught picking up opponents campaign signs? - He too voted and left the state the day after the election

forget Martha Fuller Clark - Arnie Arnesen runs what amounts to a flop house for outside liberals to stay in NH and spout their extreme liberal ideas

What we ought to be doing is keeping an eye on O'Brien's kid.

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